Today’s Lectio Divina:
Then Jesus turned to the Jews who had claimed to believe in Him. “If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are My disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you.” John 3: 31-32 (MsgB)
Ignatian Truth #5: Ignatian spirituality is all about Freedom. We are free to be our true selves, free to be all God has made us to be.
According to Jesus of Nazareth, truth will lead us to freedom. And who in the world doesn’t want to be free?
Yet, an honest examination of human history reveals that freedom is rarely free, and that truth is not easily found.
Let’s be honest here. Truth can be elusive, especially when you live in a culture where spin and exaggeration are seen as power tools for those whose job is to communicate fact, not fiction.
Jesus lived in such a culture. While the Roman government prided itself in having high standards for truth and justice, it’s interesting to see the response of one of its own leaders when he was presented with Truth Incarnate. Do you remember the story?
Jesus said (to Pontius Pilate), “My Kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my Kingdom is from another place.”
“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to Me.”
“What is truth?” retorted Pilate. (John 18: 36-38 NIV)
Could it be that Pilate’s response here is just a wee bit sarcastic, having been party to all the hypocrisy, lies, scandals, and coverups found so often in his own Roman system of government? Was his trite comment actually revealing his disdain for trying to find truth in the midst of the very corrupt and fallen world he had been assigned to oversee?
Truth, you see, does lead to freedom. But, in all truthfulness, truth is hard to find, and then, once we do actually uncover it, truth often hurts!
How many of us, for example, are willing to allow the real truth about ourselves to penetrate our human defenses, revealing that mixed bag of good, bad, and ugly that lies deep within our inner being?
King David, in Psalm 139, offers us an amazing example of one brave human being who apparently has had his fill of hiding behind his mask of lies, offering one beautiful prayer of willingness to find truth, whatever that cost might be. Here David opens himself up to his Creator King, inviting Him to reveal truth, and nothing but the truth, about his own life so that he might, indeed, become free.
You have searched me, Lord, and You know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue You, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before, and You lay Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.
(Psalm 139: 1-6, 23-24 NIV)
As I see it, for those of us who are brave enough to confront the truth about ourselves, the Ignatian Exercises offer, at their very core, the freedom Jesus speaks of when He states that the truth shall set us free.
Next time, we’ll examine a bit more about how our journey with Jesus through the Exercises of St. Ignatius just might bring more freedom to our lives… more freedom than we’ve ever experienced or even dreamed of!
How’s that for a teaser?
My prayer: Gulp. Father God. Precious Jesus. Holy Spirit. I come to You today, knowing that it’s much easier for me to live in the shadows. It’s much harder to step into the full light of truth, where everything about me; the good, the bad, and the ugly, are evident to both me and to You. But freedom, true freedom, sounds wonderful to me, so I choose, like King David, to trust as I open myself up to Your truth, knowing that pathway will lead me to freedom unspeakable. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: What fears are holding me back from stepping into the full truth of God? Am I fearful of what I might find? Am I uncertain if God will still love me if I reveal all of my garbage? Am I too proud to show my dark side? Am I too afraid of what might happen if I lay down my defenses? Too embarrassed by it all? What risks might I be willing to take today in letting down my guard and praying King David’s prayer of truth?
How are you experiencing God as you ponder on these Ignatian truths today?
Over a period of twelve weeks (3 sessions per week), we will take this journey into Iggy’s Biggies, contemplating twelve foundational truths found within the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. We suggest you bookmark our blog series homepage to keep all the writings in one place for your future reference. Take note that each blog session begins with a short scripture reading. My suggestion is that you don’t hurry through, or skip the text, but treat it as a Lectio Divina reading where you slow down and sit a bit with God’s Word, allowing it to penetrate and influence you as you read.
If you’ve never journeyed through the Exercises, might I suggest that you find a qualified spiritual director and ask them to accompany you along the way? Here at The Contemplative Activist, we can offer a good number of highly qualified folks to do just that.
Oh, and if you enjoy what you’re reading here, we encourage you to share this page and our website, The Contemplative Activist, with your friends!